In these days following the death of Thomas Rashid, many mourning across Michigan have recalled the late MHSAA Associate Director as truly one of a kind – both in his work, which has had as significant an impact on the day-to-day processes and policies of school sports as anyone’s in this state’s history, and as a person who made everyone feel like a close friend moments after first meeting him.
We are glad to pass on tributes that have been made to him this week, as well as his visitation and funeral arrangements and a video interview with Tom that has provided us great comfort this week as we remember our friend – who also played roles as leader, mentor, advisor, supporter, consoler and many more through the years.
Visitation will take place from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes in East Lansing, and will include a Rosary service at 7 p.m. Visitation also will take place Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in East Lansing, with the funeral Mass to follow at noon – Click for details. Saturday’s Mass also will be streamed live on the Diocese of Lansing’s Outreach Mass YouTube feed – Click to watch.
Tom always felt the focus should be on students and what they could learn from school sports – with the beauty of that philosophy meshing well with how his vast contributions mostly took place away from the spotlight. Deservedly so, it’s been shined on his legacy this week:
On a related note, in lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations including to the Thomas Rashid and Vic Michaels Scholarship Fund for Catholic student athletes at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan – Click to learn more.
We have been thankful this week for these 36 minutes to hear Tom’s voice again – this video from Michigan Lacrosse Review, an interview with Greg Normand after Tom was selected for the Michigan High School Lacrosse Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2018 – is Tom to a T as he, in his own words, explained what drove his life’s work.
A first-of-its-kind mentorship program is greeting more than 100 first-time high school athletic directors who are officially beginning their tenures at Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools with the start of the 2023-24 school year.
The “AD Connection Program” has matched those first-year high school athletic directors with one of eight mentors who have recently retired from the field and will now provide assistance as those new administrators transition to this essential role in school sports.
A total of 102 first-year high school athletic directors are beginning at MHSAA schools, meaning a new athletic administrator will be taking over at nearly 14 percent of the 750 member high schools across the state. Athletic director turnover at MHSAA high schools has reached 10 percent or more annually over the last few years, and it’s hoped that this additional mentorship will support athletic directors adjusting to the high pace and responsibilities of the position for the first time.
The AD Connection Program will build on training received at the required in-service program all new athletic directors must attend each fall. There is also a strong connection to programming from the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), the professional development organization for the state’s athletic administrators.
"When you crystalize it, the AD Connection Program is an attempt for us to give a true year-long in-service to new athletic directors with people who have done it,” said MHSAA Assistant Director Brad Bush, who is coordinating the program and joined the MHSAA staff in January after more than two decades as an athletic administrator at Chelsea High School. “This also connects new ADs with a larger professional group, and it will culminate in March at the annual MIAAA conference, where there will be several face-to-face meetings with all ADs.
“These mentors are meant to become that first-year AD’s go-to person.”
Mentors will conduct frequent meetings with their cohorts. They also will meet monthly (or more) with each first-time athletic director individually via zoom, and at least once during the academic year face-to-face at the mentee’s school.
The eight mentors, noting their most recent schools as an athletic director, are Chris Ervin (most recently at St. Johns), Brian Gordon (Royal Oak), Sean Jacques (Calumet), Tim Johnston (East Grand Rapids), Karen Leinaar (Frankfort), Scott Robertson (Grand Haven), Meg Seng (Ann Arbor Greenhills) and Wayne Welton (Chelsea). Leinaar also will serve as the AD Connection Program’s liaison to the MIAAA, which she serves as executive director.
High school practices at MHSAA member schools may begin today, Monday Aug. 7, for the nine fall sports for which the MHSAA sponsors a postseason tournament. The AD Connection Program was approved by the MHSAA Representative Council during its annual Winter Meeting on March 24.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.3 million spectators each year.